Shalom from Tel Aviv!
The well known American Messianic singing group Lamb went on tour in Israel recently. Joel Chernoff and Rick Coghill, the creators of Lamb, gave three tremendous concerts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Jerusalem, which sees a constant parade of conferences and visiting religious celebrities of every stripe, filled the 600 seat auditorium and clapped and danced to the Lamb songs which are known wherever there are Messianic Jews.
In all three concerts, Israelis, some who for the first time came in contact with Messianic Jews, committed their lives to the God of Israel, and accepted the atonement of His Son Yeshua.
The concerts were conducted in connection with a Messianic tour led by members of the Chernoff family, leaders of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America and of Beth Yeshua Congregation in Philadelphia.
They and their tour came on an exploratory trip to see how American and Israeli Jewish believers can cooperate more closely together.
Beth Yeshua, a Messianic Jewish Congregation with more than 350 members, has a wealth of musical talent boasting such groups as Lamb and Kol Simcha.
LEARNING TO LEAD DAVIDIC WORSHIP
In our Ramat Hasharon congregation we love to praise and worship God. Thus our congregation, in conjunction with two other local bodies, joyfully sponsored a music and praise workshop in Ramat Hasharon put on by musicians and leaders of Beth Yeshua.
The practical information was priceless. Bruce Cohen of Beth Yeshua taught on the way singers and musicians can lead their congregations in deep and glorious worship.
Jonathan Bernis, leader of congregation Shema Israel in Rochester, N.Y., topped off the conference with a call for unity. Actually one of the most exciting things happening in Israel is the move of unity between the different Israeli congregations here. This is a sovereign act of God.
As might be expected, Israelis are rugged individuals, pioneers fighting for life and identity. And those Israelis who choose Yeshua, must truly be of strong character, able to stand against fierce persecution.
Furthermore, each Messianic Jewish group in Israel that is being established, even though fully united in lifting up Yeshua, must of necessity experiment with forms, practice and find its place with Jewish identity, the Torah, Zionism and lifestyle.
Needless to say, there are many different opinions and manifestations. However, the Spirit of God is ever so delicately bringing leaders and groups together in fellowship and work. The concerts were a fine example of this kind of Israeli unity.
SHAVUOT -- THE FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS
Another example of growing unity was on the day of Shavuot; the Netanya congregation, established by David and Lisa Loden, had a joint picnic with our congregation.
After eating, our two groups pulled out all of our instruments and together we had an outdoor praise service on our property. Although the yard is not large by American standards, we can seat two to three hundred people outside. And our garden is a very beautiful subtropical one, made up mostly of trees and bushes that were discarded by the gardeners of Ramat Hasharon.
In that magnificent setting on Shavuot, the Day of First Fruits when 1900 years ago the Holy Spirit fell on the early Jewish believers, we began to sing and praise.
And then -- we can only describe what we felt -- the wind began to blow softly on that beautiful day -- and the trees began to clap their hands and the people began to sing and dance and the instruments played -- until God's nature and His man in harmony sent up worship together to the Lord of all the earth.
Arm in arm, row upon row of people moved with the music, their faces heavenward.
THIS IS THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN
I looked at one row of our own first fruits -- an English immigrant, completely orthodox, with side curls (peot) and black clothes, filled with love for Yeshua, His Messiah.
Not far from him stood a beautiful Sephardic lady who was recently set free from deep mental problems, and who is a faithful member of our congregation. Sitting in front of her was her handsome sixteen-year-old son, who has not yet received the
Messiah but who told me that day, that he had decided to come every week from then on.
And right next to them a couple in their 60's. Their daughter had gone to Sweden and there found the Messiah. The parents, bewildered and hurt, came to our congregation to find out what it was all about. Last month when Sid and Roth from
Washington, D.C. visited our congregation and gave an invitation to come to the Father through Yeshua, the husband stepped forward that night with five others and accepted salvation.
After the service was over, the wife came to us and said: "My husband jumped up so fast to receive God's salvation, that he left me sitting there. And I was too embarrassed to walk up by myself." We told her that it was not too late! So a few minutes later she followed her husband in salvation.
Near them was another couple, successful business people in Ramat Hasharon, who had been secret believers for eight years. Last Yom Kippur they walked into our congregation for the first time and they are now an integral part of the body and giving jobs to believers in our congregation.
Standing close by, lost in praise to our God, was another beautiful raven-haired girl, an immigrant from the U.S. and first class secretary. Next, one of our "boys" who served a long prison term in the U.S. In prison he had a vision of Yeshua and shortly after his acceptance of His Messiah felt a strong urge that as a Jew, he should return to Israel.
In front of him stood a lady, an accountant from Romania with her four children, ages 13-20, who are moving up to Ramat Hasharon from Beersheva to be a part of this congregation.
In the midst of all were the curly headed babies and sabra children running around. They are those who have been born in this congregation, and are now being nourished by it.
Yes Israel is alive! It is happening. The fig tree is blossoming! The time has come for God to have mercy on Zion.
NO TRIP TO THE STATES
Because of our congregation's growth this year, and for the sake of our own two children, ages 9 and 8, who are also pioneers in this work, we feel we must stay in Israel this summer.
Our greatest and most urgent need in the congregation is training leadership and we are dedicating ourselves to see that that is accomplished.
In the past summers, we have gone to the U.S. to explain what God is actually doing here in Israel, and to encourage those congregations and individuals who desire to take part in the incredible spiritual birth of this nation, to do so.
This summer we cannot do it, because of the weight and quantity of work and needs here.
Will you help us faithfully, regularly and generously? If so, you do it unto God. And God is debtor to no man. He will reward you greatly.
In our Messiah,
Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram